breaking news

FOLLOW LIVE: Texas football hosts Orange-White Spring Game

Senate plan to direct lottery money to teacher pay gets cold reception


Highlights

Senate Joint Resolution 1 would prioritize existing Texas Lottery money for schools toward teacher pay raises.

If it passes the Legislature, the resolution would require voter approval.

Some public education advocates pressed lawmakers on Sunday to reconsider a plan to use existing lottery revenue earmarked for schools specifically on teacher pay raises and bonuses.

“We’re saying take those dollars and move them over to teacher salaries and so you now have that void. And so districts are being asked to make those cuts,” said Jesús Chávez, former Round Rock school district superintendent who now is with the South Texas Association of Schools.

The Senate Finance Committee on Saturday advanced a bill to the full Senate that would give $600 annual bonuses to teachers who have six to 10 years of experience and $1,000 annual bonuses to those who have at least 11 years of experience. The bill also contained a provision that would give all teachers $1,000 pay raises on top of that, starting in the 2019-2020 school year. Over the next two years, the bonuses are to be paid with existing state money, but it’s unclear how the pay raises would be funded.

READ: Bill targeting government employee union dues heads to Senate

In the long-run, the Senate has a plan to pay for the teacher bonuses and raises through the use of state lottery revenue.

The Education Committee on Sunday considered Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would require voters to OK dedicating half of the more than $1 billion of state lottery revenue already earmarked for public education every year to the teacher bonuses and raises and any associated increases to retirement contributions. Currently, there is no stipulation on how public schools can use the state lottery money.

“It is important to underscore that SJR 1 does not move any money out of the public school system but instead gives teachers a larger piece of the pie,” said resolution author Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville.

Supporters of the plan, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said that the teacher pay increases are meant to retain high-quality teachers and that the lottery method would be a permanent way to finance it. Critics, including representatives of some teacher groups, have said that the state should pump new money into education to pay for the teacher pay plan.

According to the Texas Lottery Commission, $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2016 went to public schools, equivalent to 27 percent of lottery revenue. Sixty three percent of revenue went toward prizes paid.

Rob Kohler with the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission told Senate panel members that even though revenue from Texas Lottery has been going up over the last two decades or so, it’s not making a dent in the school finance system. “We don’t think it’s wise to raise revenue through the lottery,” said Kohler, who was one of four people who testified on the bill Sunday.

The committee did not vote on the resolution on Sunday nor on Senate Bill 97 which was similar to the resolution. The author of the bill Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, said his staff is rewriting the bill to require that new state money, if available, would be used for teacher raises.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

At funeral, Barbara Bush called ‘first lady of the greatest generation’
At funeral, Barbara Bush called ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the greatest generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and roughly 1,500 other people who filled the church with laughter as much as with tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother...
Hazmat crews called for gas line break near Loyola Lane in Northeast Austin
Hazmat crews called for gas line break near Loyola Lane in Northeast Austin

Hazmat crews are responding to a gas line break Northeast Austin, officials said Saturday afternoon.  A six-inch gas line was struck during construction on the east side of Ed Bluestein Boulevard between Loyola Lane and Highway 183 around 2 p.m., officials said.  The Texas Gas Service is repairing the busted gas line, officials said. Austin...
TEXAS DIGEST: Driver in deadly immigrant smuggling case gets life

SAN ANTONIO Driver in deadly immigrant smuggling case gets life The driver of a big rig involved in the deaths of 10 smuggled immigrants in Texas last year was sentenced Friday to life in prison. James Matthew Bradley Jr. pleaded guilty in October to a count of transporting the immigrants resulting in death and a conspiracy count. If he had gone to...
LATEST: Pflugerville SWAT standoff ends; California stabbing suspect in custody
LATEST: Pflugerville SWAT standoff ends; California stabbing suspect in custody

1:15 p.m. update: A SWAT standoff in Pflugerville has ended, and a man suspected of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend in California has been taken into custody, the U.S. Marshals Service said. Kevin Darnell Dickson, 55, was arrested by authorities after an hours-long standoff at a home in the 14500 block of Harris Ridge Boulevard in Pflugerville...
NYC postal worker arrested after police find 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail
NYC postal worker arrested after police find 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail

A New York City postal worker was arrested Thursday after 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail were found in his car, apartment and locker, authorities said. Aleksey Germash, who has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 16 years, possessed undelivered mail since 2005, WPIX reported. He told investigators he held onto the mail because...
More Stories